Escape the City and Explore Nature in San Francisco
Head into the great outdoors at one of the many parks found in San Francisco. From the Presidio to Golden Gate Park, there are countless places to explore that get you outdoors in this beautiful city.
Yerba Buena Gardens
Located amid the hustle and bustle of the Financial District, this garden offers a nice retreat from the surrounding energy. There's a hedge maze, waterfalls, and grassy areas where you can relax in the sun. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a snack or take a break with a book. It's also conveniently located where you can rest your legs during a busy day of sightseeing.
750 Howard Street, SoMa, San Francisco, CA, 94103
Washington Square Park
Head down the hill from Ina Coolbrith Park and you'll find the popular Washington Square Park. This standard rectangle park offers a nice grassy field that is located in the heart of North Beach, San Francisco's Italian district. The park is filled with benches and places to rest or read a good book. It's also a nice picnic area and you'll find plenty of locals hanging out and soaking up the sun (when it makes an appearance). During the summer months there are often movies playing on large screens that you can enjoy free of charge. Saints Peter and Paul Church sits at the edge of the park.
Filbert St & Stockton Street, North Beach, San Francisco, CA, 94133
This park is all about the views. It's one of the highest parks in the city and it looks out over the entire Bay Area. The park is made of up two peaks with the north peak offers 180 degree views of the city. The park can be a bit challenge to get to, particularly if you're relying on public transportation, but the view at the top is well worth it. In total, the park has 64 acres of land.
501 Twin Peaks Blvd, San Francisco, CA, 94114
The Redwood Park at the Transamerica Pyramid Center
The Redwood Park offers a peaceful setting with plenty of benches and striking redwood trees in the heart of the city. This is a quiet spot where you can enjoy lunch or simply rest your legs before continuing to explore the city. At the center of the park is a beautiful fountain.
600 Montgomery St, Financial District, San Francisco, CA, 94111
The Presidio historically served as a U.S. Army base but today it is a large green space and a public park. It's situated in the northwestern corner of the city at the gateway to the Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio is a national park that is controlled by the National Park Service and it runs between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, ending at Baker Beach. Within the park there are stunning views of Marin County and the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as a number of biking, hiking and walking paths. There are also plenty of places to enjoy a picnic or rest with a good book. The Walt Disney Family Museum as well as a golf course and several cafes are also found within the park.
The Presidio, San Francisco, CA
The Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts is the last building remaining from the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. It's a beautiful, classical style building that sits by a lagoon that serves as a reflecting pool. Inside the palace there are regular art exhibits and performances. The theater seats about 1,000 people.
3301 Lyon Street, Marina District, San Francisco, CA
Climb the stairwell on Filbert Street and you'll stumble into Pioneer Park, which is a 5 acre park that surrounds the famous Coit Tower. The park offers views of Russian Hill and it's possible to see The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz when the weather allows.
1 Telegraph Hill Blvd, Telegraph Hill, San Francisco, CA, 94133
Patricia’s Green is a small park with a grassy area in the Haye's Valley neighborhood. The park has become a lively setting with a couple of snack shops and a public art installation. During the summer months, there's a Burning Man wooden temple built here.
50 Oak St, Haye's Valley, San Francisco, CA, 94102
Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument is one of the closest places to San Francisco where you can enjoy a forest of redwood trees. The park spans 554 acres, with 240 acres filled with redwoods. The park is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Center and it's a popular day trip from the city. Plan to arrive early if you're visiting on a weekend.
Mill Valley, CA 94941, CA, 94941
Mission Dolores Park
This large park is a popular hangout with locals, who head here when the weather's nice to enjoy picnics, ballgames, and hanging out in the sun. The park has a full-sized basketball court, a bike polo court, a soccer field, and six tennis courts. There's also a large playground that's perfect for kids. The park is in a family-friendly area so parents and kids often spend their afternoons here.
Dolores St &, 19th St, Mission and the Castro, San Francisco, CA, 94114
Ina Coolbrith Park
This small park is perched on a small piece of land in the Russian Hill neighborhood. It's a bit removed from the main tourist areas, so it's a nice place to rest your legs and enjoy a peaceful setting. It is a bit of a climb to reach it, but for those who put in the effort, the park's stunning views of the San Francisco Bay, Coit Tower, the Bay Bridge, and the city's skyline are a spectacular reward.
Vallejo & Taylor, Russian Hill, San Francisco, CA, 94133
Grandview Park, also known as Turtle Hill, is in Golden Gate Park. It's the place to go for spectacular views and on a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean, the city's skyline, the San Francisco Bay, and all of Golden Gate Park. It's particularly spectacular during either sunrise (for those early risers) or sunset.
1705 14th Ave, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, 94122
Golden Gate Park
The Golden Gate Park is a diverse outdoor space with museums, wildlife, gardens, and trails all within a peaceful setting. It is the third most visited park in the United States, and it's the perfect place to wander, walk, run, or relax. Inside the park you'll find world-class museums like de Young Museum, the unique Japanese Tea Garden, and the impressive San Francisco Botanical Garden. It's easy to pass hours here just soaking up the refreshing outdoor setting.
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA
Glen Canyon Park is a city park with 60 acres of green space and a number of fun activities including a rock climbing wall. There's a 1.8 mile trail that can get a bit crowded during popular times. During the spring season, the park is popular for its wildflowers.
Elk St and Chenery St, San Francisco, CA, 94127
Located in Russian Hill, this park has three terraces and connecting stone paths. There are charming wooden gazebos and spectacular views of the bay and the surrounding city. Set near several other popular attractions such as the famous Lombard Street, this park offers a nice place to rest your legs after climbing all of those San Francisco hills.
2366 Leavenworth St between Chestnut St & Lombard St, Russian Hill, San Francisco, CA
Buena Vista Park
Buena Vista Park, in the famed Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, is the oldest park in the city. It's a bit of a climb to reach the park's peak, but from here you can enjoy views of the city, the University of San Francisco, and the surrounding hills that make up San Francisco's unique topography. The setting is a nice place to relax or enjoy a picnic.
Buena Vista & Haight Street, Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, CA, 94117
Angel Island State Park
Catch a ferry from Pier 41 to explore this beautiful state park. Nature lovers will enjoy the peaceful setting and photography enthusiasts will appreciate the views looking back at the city. This is the largest natural island in the San Francisco Bay and it has a number of great biking, hiking, and running trails. There are five different picnic areas, eleven campsites, and several nice beaches as well. There's also a casual restaurant on the island.
San Francisco, CA
Alamo Square Park
This park is most notable as the place to view the famous "Painted Ladies," a series of Victorian and Edwardian homes that were made famous by the Tanner family, in the 1980's sitcom, "Full House". The park spreads out for 36 acres and it's a nice place to relax with a book, enjoy a picnic lunch, or let the kid's play on the playground.
Steiner St & Hayes Street, Alamo Square, San Francisco, CA, 94117
How much does it cost?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $8 to $4,939. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $880. A few of the best options are below.
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